“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968


Friday, 13 September 2013

For Workers Power.

I have been reading For Workers Power, the selected writings of Maurice Brinton (Chris Pallis) These old Solidarity articles and pamphlets, originally published during the 60's and 70's, have stood the test of time and The Irrational In Politics, for example remains as relevant today as ever while The Bolsheviks And Workers' Control should perhaps be required reading for all Left Unity foot soldiers.
But for all it's many good points, Solidarity was never able to break into mainstream consciousness. It remained a small group who talked a lot of good sense but were only able to address a relative handful of left militants. Then as now, the majority of ordinary folk preferred shopping to politics. Perhaps they have a point.

5 comments:

Dr Llareggub said...

Thanks for the mention of Solidarity. Chris Pallis was my close friend in Solidarity from the early sixties until his death. He helped me publish a number of my articles as Solidarity pamphlets and later after Solidarity finished we went on to make a significant impact in medicine. Chris was a neurologist and produced the first definition of brainstem death - a development from brain death. His ABC of Brainstem Death, published by the BMA, was identical in format to the Solidarity pamphlets, and widely read. Contrary to the assholes in Lib Dem, I did not write a book on Wittgenstein with him - I wrote two myself. But he gave me tremendous help with my books on organ transplants and the ethical and philosophical basis of brainstem death, which are still the standard texts on the subject. Later, he was to say that the neurological approach to the end points of life was more significant than the Solidarity political stuff.I believe this as I travelled around the world helping to change the constitutions of countries which came to redefine life and death. Too bad the anarchist movement turned its back on us. Thank Bone,Incubus, Lib Com, and a few others for this. But the work we started in Solidarity continues and I am still very active. There is work to be done in health care, and I don't mean defending the NHS unions, but much I am doing in the US where there is a more open discussion.

Dr Llareggub said...

PS to the above. I wrongly wrote Lib Dem, when I should have wrote Lib Com. Can this be corrected? Thanks

Jemmy Hope said...

I recall reading Solidarity in the 60s, in which there were regular dismissive remarks about the anarcho-syndicalists. I also remember being told by Comrade Ernie Stanton of the SWF that he was regularly labelled a dinosaur when he attended Solidarity meetings.
In spite of which comrades like Ernie and my little syndicalist group helped to distribute Solidarity.
I'm sure you'll agree, every organisation has its quota of "assholes".

Dr Llareggub10 said...

Jemmy Hope, Point well taken. There were dismissive comments and much labelling and name calling. A revolutionary movement ought to cope with that. My beef with Lib Com, and the Incubonists is that they employ the standard leftist libellous accusation of racism to opposing views on their blogs without allowing a response. Lies therefore replace argument. Returning to the original post: Pallis recognised towards the end of Solidarity that it had failed to reach beyond a small circle of militants, which is why medical science appeared more relevant. Scientific attention to the end points of life contributes to a battle to prevent the wealthy exploiting others over health and premature organ removal. Ask the families of the poor where I worked in South America to provide firm criteria which would limit the scope for abuse by doctors when diagnosing deaths of their children. And again, last year medical/ethical attention I put into therapy for HIV positive pregnant women - who have no political status - in West Africa. The politics is still Solidarity - assist but not lead the people - but addressing issues beyond the remit of the traditional left.

Jemmy Hope said...

Nothing personal, Doc. just a little additional information.
Apart from the emphasis on Marx and his works and pomps I never saw much to separate you from us primitives - just a bit more erudite maybe.

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